In cases when an employee is unjustly dismissed from work, he shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges, inclusive of allowances, and other benefits or their monetary equivalent from the time the compensation was withheld up to the time of actual reinstatement. The awards of moral damages and exemplary damages are also in order and grant of attorney’s fees is likewise proper. ISSUES: 1. WON the respondents were validly dismissed. 2. WON respondents were victims of unfair labor practice.
Petitioner Park Hotel is a corporation engaged in the hotel business. Petitioners Gregg Harbutt (Harbutt) and Bill Percy (Percy) are the General Manager and owner, respectively, of Park Hotel. Percy, Harbutt and Atty. Roberto Enriquez are also the officers and stockholders of Burgos Corporation (Burgos), a sister company of Park Hotel. Park Hotel hired Respondent Manalo Soriano (Soriano) in July 1990 as Maintenance Electrician and then transferred to Burgos in 1992. Respondent Lester Gonzales (Gonzales) was employed by Burgos as Doorman, and later promoted as Supervisor.
Respondent Yolanda Badilla (Badilla) was a bartender of J’s Playhouse operated by Burgos. Respondents Burgos were dismissed from work in October 1997 for allegedly stealing company properties. As a result, respondents filed complaints for illegal dismissal, unfair labor practice, and payment of moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees, before the Labor Arbiter (LA). In their complaints, respondents alleged that the real reason for their dismissal was that they were organizing a union for the company’s employees.
Petitioners alleged that Soriano and Gonzales have violated various company rules and regulations contained in several memoranda issued to them aside from the charge of theft. However, the three (3) respondents averred that they never received the memoranda containing their alleged violation of company rules and they argued that these memoranda were fabricated to give a semblance of cause to their termination. Soriano and Gonzales further claimed that the complaint filed against them was only an afterthought as the same was filed after petitioners learned that a complaint for illegal dismissal was already instituted against them.
The Labor Arbiter rendered a Decision finding that respondents were illegally dismissed because the alleged violations they were charged with were not reduced in writing and were not made known to them, thus, denying them due process. The LA found that respondents did not actually receive the memoranda allegedly issued by petitioners, and that the same were mere afterthought to conceal the illegal dismissal. Petitioners appealed to the Commission and rendered a Decision remanding the case to the arbitration branch of origin for further proceedings.
Hence the LA rendered a new Decision. Discontented with the LA’s decision, petitioners again appealed to the Commission and thereafter affirmed the LA’s decision and dismissed the appeal for lack of merit. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied for lack of merit. Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the CA ascribing grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the Commission in holding Park Hotel, Harbutt and Percy jointly and severally liable to respondents.
CA rendered a Decision dismissing the petition and affirming with modification the ruling of the Commission. RULING: 1. ) YES. The requisites for a valid dismissal are: (a) the employee must be afforded due process, i. e. , he must be given an opportunity to be heard and defend himself; and (b) the dismissal must be for a valid cause as provided in Article 282 of the Labor Code, or for any of the authorized causes under Articles 283 and 284 of the same Code.
In the case before us, both elements are completely lacking. Respondents were dismissed without any just or authorized cause and without being given the opportunity to be heard and defend themselves. In cases when an employee is unjustly dismissed from work, he shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges, inclusive of allowances, and other benefits or their monetary from the time the compensation was withheld up to the time of actual reinstatement.
In the case at bar, the Court finds that it would be best to award separation pay instead of reinstatement, in view of the passage of a long period of time since respondents’ dismissal. Respondents are entitled to the payment of full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and other benefits or their monetary equivalent, and separation pay in lieu of reinstatement equivalent to one month salary for every year of service. The awards of separation pay and backwages are not mutually exclusive, and both may be given to respondents. The awards of moral and exemplary damages in favor of respondents are also in order.
Moral damages may be recovered where the dismissal of the employee was tainted by bad faith or fraud, or where it constituted an act oppressive to labor, and done in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy, while exemplary damages are recoverable only if the dismissal was done in a wanton, oppressive, or malevolent manner. The grant of attorney’s fees is likewise proper. Attorney’s fees may likewise be awarded to respondents who were illegally dismissed in bad faith and were compelled to litigate or incur expenses to protect their rights by reason of the oppressive acts of petitioners.
The unjustified act of petitioners had obviously compelled respondents to institute an action primarily to protect their rights and interests which warrants the granting of the award. 2. ) Anent the unfair labor practice, Article 248 (a) of the Labor Code considers it an unfair labor practice when an employer interferes, restrains or coerces employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization or the right to form an association.
In order to show that the employer committed unfair labor practice under the Labor Code, substantial evidence is required to support the claim. Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. In the case at bar, respondents were indeed unceremoniously dismissed from work by reason of their intent to form and organize a union.
Cite this Petitioner Park Hotel Case
Petitioner Park Hotel Case. (2016, Oct 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/petitioner-park-hotel-case/